Pincha Mayurasana Peakock Pose Yoga Costa Rica Blue Osa
Blog, Yoga

To Lengthen and Strengthen in Yoga

My journey in yoga lately has been leading me to throughly analyze the way postures work. In other words, alignment.

Lately I’ve been asking myself: what is the balance between strength and flexibility? Does a body party or muscle group need to be strong in order to be flexible?

Pincha Mayurasana Peakock Pose Yoga Costa Rica Blue Osa
You guessed it, I am more strong than flexible. It’s a work in progress! 🙂 Photocred: Jonathan Hokklo Pants by: Black Milk Clothing

1. Are you strong or flexible?

While we all ideally strive to become both strong and flexible in our yoga practice, I’ve often found that we are born with either one or the other. People who are flexible are lacking in strength and vice versa.

Without getting too much into it, there is a lot more than genetics that determine your level of flexibility. Tendons, ligaments and muscle fascia also play a great part in the flexibility game.

Tendons transmit force by connecting bones to muscle. They are relatively stiff, and they need to be to facilitate fine motor coordination. They have very little tolerance to stretching.

Ligaments can safely stretch a bit more than tendons—but not much. Ligaments bind bone to bone inside joint capsules. It is generally recommended that you avoid stretching them.  That’s why you hear instructors in class say to flex your knees slightly—rather than hyperextending them.

Muscle fascia is the third connective tissue that affects flexibility, and by far the most important. Fascia makes up as much as 30 percent of a muscle’s total mass. Fascia is the stuff that separates individual muscle fibers and bundles them into working units, providing structure and transmitting force.

So because of genetics, conditioning and other factors, we all find ourselves needing to work on either strengthening or lengthening a good deal in our yoga practice.

2. A tight muscle is not necessarily a strong muscle

But then there’s also tightness. Tightness is different than strength.  Muscle tension is caused when a muscle contracts and does not release, which is not a healthy condition. Muscle tension can be caused by overuse or stress. One can (and should) have a strong, lean muscle without it being tense.

3. Reciprocal inhibition (they work the opposite)

It’s important to know that strength is about engaging just as much as it is about extending; it’s a yin and yang relationship. When you engage your bicep your triceps loosens and when you extend your arm your triceps activates. In forward folds you engage your quadriceps to release your hamstrings. Whenever one set of muscles (the agonists) contracts, this built-in feature of the autonomic nervous system causes the opposing muscles (the antagonists) to release. If done correctly in yoga, when you strengthen one part of your body, you automatically lengthen its counterpart.

4. You can’t have one without the other

In conclusion, there should be equal emphasis on both strength and flexibility. If we only have flexibility in our practice we might not have enough stability to keep our joints safe. On the other hand, being only strong means we have short muscles that can’t fully expand in postures.

“Sthira Sukham Asanam” is a popular quote from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It means a yoga posture should be steady, firm and stable, yet also comfortable and light.

Sthira refers to stability and strength. Sukha refers to comfort, ease and openness.

If you have too much sukha in your body, you are mostly flexible and open, in which case you should improve your strength to balance your flexibility .If you have more sthira, you will probably be stiffer and you will have to work on your flexibility for a well rounded practice.

On our yoga mat, as in our lives, we are looking to balance flexibility (freedom and ease) with strength (stability).

Retreat in Paradise 5 reasons you should go on this yoga retreat
Blog, Travel, Yoga Retreats

5 Reasons You Should Go on The Blue Wave Yoga Retreat

Are you on the fence about booking your plane tickets? Maybe wondering if this is really the vacation for you? Never been on the Blue Wave Surf & Yoga Retreat before? Here are five reasons you should commit and book- no regrets!

Retreat in Paradise 5 reasons you should go on this yoga retreat

1. To vacation without the stress of vacationing

With this yoga retreat, you get to see a new place without having to hassle to figure out all the details. You will get to experience new landscapes and adventures without having to do insane amounts of research on your Lonely Planet. We have it all figured out for you! Just book a flight ticket and we got the rest covered 🙂


Practcing yoga

2. To experience yoga in a whole new way

Have you ever had that feeling that an hour of yoga doesn’t give you enough time to really unwind? Or you have all those questions about a certain pose that you never get a chance to ask? Driving to class and rushing into class has you feeling a little stressed? This yoga retreat is for you. Yoga classes will take place conveniently near your doorsteps, and in front of the ocean. And several times a day. Need we say more?

*Not as into yoga? Not a problem. There will be plenty of opportunities to surf, on the Boca Sombrero break right in front of the resort.

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3. To meet cool people

The great thing about the Blue Wave yoga retreat is that everyone who attends is awesome. You will find yourself connecting with people from all walks all life, from different countries and of all different personalities. You will be pleasantly surprised.

4. To leave with a lighter load

Whether you are seeking resolution or not, it is guaranteed that you will emerge from this yoga retreat with new perspectives. Many times we need to walk away from our daily routine, our problem, stress and frustrations so that we can distract ourselves and then come back with a clearer outlook on life. Or maybe. after you take some time “off”, the problems you had before don’t seem as challenging anymore 🙂

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5. To establish healthier habits

We want you to be healthy, and we want you to know how that feels so you can continue doing it back at home. We have gourmet healthy meals prepared for you. We want you to know what it feels like to get restful sleep. To unplug. To have the opportunity to read a book in peace. To hear the sounds of the jungle. And to be inspired to seek those quality lifestyle adjustments once you return home. Click here for a typical day on the yoga retreat.

Got more questions?

Contact bluedreamyogaretreat@gmail.com

BDYR studio group shot

Surfing the Osa Costa Rica
Blog, Travel, Yoga Retreats

Surfing the Matapalo // Osa Peninsula //- A Guide

The Osa peninsula is known for many things, and among them, some world class waves. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner wanting to learn, you will find just what you need in the Osa.

Note that all the surf spots in Matapalo are point breaks.

Aaron surfing pan dulce Blue Osa Costa Rica

 Surfing the Osa

Pandulce 1

Location: Cabo Mata Palo. Drive past the little jungle bar of Martinas, cross the river and take the first left into the road that takes to Cabo Matapalo. Pass casa Bambu, Casa Pina and Casa Dulce on your left and then turn left on a little road that will take you to a tiny parking lot. Lock your vehicles and keep all valuables with you!

Difficulty level: easy. This is a forgiving wave and the best one to learn surfing on.  (this spot is also known by the locals as “Pussy Point”, because it’s one the most beginner surf spots in the area.

Wave direction: Right

Barrels?  Yes, usually smaller ones.

Best part about it: this spot has a fun right wave with a good speed which can make for fun sessions.

Good to surf during: low tide

Crowded? Yes

Watch out for:  When you go in at low tide you will need to walk on some flat rock as you enter the water, which can be a bit slippery. Also sting rays sometimes hang out in the sandy bottoms, so shuffle your feet as you walk in.

Pandulce 2

Location: Cabo Mata Palo. This spot is still Pan Dulce, but a bit further down on the Matapalo road. You can enter from a few different points. You can get to it by walking on a little trail from PanDulce 1 at low tide on your right. You can also go from the Encanta la Vida yoga deck and then take a right on the trail. You’ll see a few benches.

Difficulty level: intermediate

Wave direction: Right

Barrels? yes

Best part about it: all the waves here are great for ripping

Good to surf during: When there’s a big swell you can surf both tides, the high and low, but when the waves are small you want to surf at high tide.

Crowded? Usually yes

Watch out for: rocks

Surfing the Osa Costa Rica

Backwash

Location: Cabo Mata Palo. Once again take the main Matapalo road and continue until you get to the Backwash parking lot right before a little river. If you passed a steep hill you’ve gone too far.

Difficulty Level: fairly Difficult. Definitely for people who can already surf, not for beginners.

Wave direction: Both rights and lefts

Barrels? yes

Best part about it: All the waves there are good, there’s a good drop and good sections for its airs and maneuvers!

Good to surf during: low tide

Crowded? sometimes

Watch out for: Water currents and rocks. The rocks that divide Backwash from PanDulce 2 are surrounded by strong currents, so make sure you don’t go in/get out from there.

Matapalo

Location: Cabo Mata Palo. Drive all the way to end of the Matapalo road. The beach will be right in front of you.

Difficulty Level: difficult. Experienced surfers only.

Wave direction: right

Barrels? yes. Good barrels

Best part about it: the drop

Good to surf during: low/medium tide

Crowded? it depends on the swell and the season. During the low season you could find only locals surfing there.

Watch out for: rocks underwater and currents during big swells that push towards the rocks. Go in front the right side, not from dead center.

Sunset Watch Matapalo Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

The rest of the beaches below are NOT located in Cabo Matapalo, but rather in the surrounding area.

 Germany Beach

Location: playa sombrero, right in front of Boca Sombrero. It’s a beach break.

Difficulty level: easy wave

Wave direction: both lefts and rights

Barrels? yes, small ones

Best part about it: it’s a short break, close to the beach. good sessions for barrels

Good to surf during: high tide

Crowded? no

Watch out for: rocks

Playa Tamales

Location: before Blue Osa, while you are driving from Puerto Jimenez. It’s right in front of the  river mouth

Difficulty level: intermediate

Wave direction: left

Barrels? yes

Good to surf during: high tide

Crowded? no

Watch out for: crocodiles and sometimes sharks

Carate

Location: Playa Carate. Instead of driving towards Matapalo keep going towards Park Corcovado.

Difficulty level: Not recommended for surfing

Wave direction: both left and right

Barrels? yes

Crowded? no

Watch out for: dangerous currents, crocodiles and sharks.

Surf Lessons

Aaron Garcia lezcano Surf Costa Rica Osa Peninsula

For surf lessons or a private surf guide contact Aaron Garcia, local pro surfer.

Email him at: aaronjg91@gmail.com

Check out his Instagram: https://instagram.com/aaronmatapalo/